The Memphis Grizzlies returned to action on Wednesday night in front of their home crowd to take on the Miami Heat. The team hoped to win their second-straight game of the season after coming off a must-needed victory over Portland on Sunday night. But the veteran presence of the Miami Heat was too much for the Grizzlies to overcome. Heat center Bam Adebayo led the way with 30 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday’s victory over the Grizzlies.
The former Kentucky Wildcat answered whenever his number was called, especially in the fourth quarter when the momentum was swinging to the Grizzlies. Adebayo dropped 16 points in the fourth quarter to keep Miami in front while Memphis attempted to position themselves for a comeback victory.
Players like Kyle Lowery also chipped in with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, and Jimmy Butler added another 15 points. The final dagger was delivered in the game’s closing seconds when the Grizzlies had cut the Heat’s lead to only three, 105-102. With 35.5 seconds left, Miami rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. connected on a three-point attempt that would put the team up 108-102.
“We didn’t have a lot of guys play well,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “Credit the Heat. Their physicality really bothered us. I think we were frantic at times. Just couldn’t get a rhythm going.”
Jenkins’s statement summarizes the issue for the Grizzlies’ sluggish start this season. When one of their star talents delivers significant contributions, other personnel have an off night. For the Grizzlies, that player was Desmond Bane. Power forward Jared Jackson led all Grizzlies scorers with 28 points, while Bane only recorded 15 points. Luke Kennard had an efficient night on the court by 13 points.
These results will likely happen whenever the Grizzlies are against veteran-laden rosters like the Miami Heat. They’re missing a significant portion of their core players, Ja Morant, Steven Adams, and Brandon Clarke, to counter the firepower that rosters such as the Miami Heat can present. That’s why the Grizzlies must come into these matchups and dominate their opponents from the opening tip-off.
However, one of the biggest takeaways from what has occurred during the Grizzlies’ troubled start is the insertion of center Bismack Biyombo. His presence on the court helps the Grizzlies regarding rim protection, allowing Jackson to focus more on playing the power forward. In Wednesday’s loss to the Heat, Biyombo recorded 11 rebounds and nine points. With the loss to Miami, the Grizzlies are now 1-7 on the season without the presence of Ja Morant.
What Lies Ahead?
The Grizzlies will remain home and host the Utah Jazz on Friday night. The game is a part of the NBA’s brand-new in-season tournament format. Utah won their previous matchup with the Grizzlies 133-109.
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